A mother cheetah has given birth to a giant litter of seven adorable cubs in Kenya’s Maasai Mara
In the wild cheetahs usually give birth to litters ranging from three to five cubs on average. These fluffy newborns are vulnerable to predators immediately from birth, which means seeing seven siblings together is highly unusual.
Yaron Schmid and Amy Montminy were the lucky photographers who witnessed the incredible scene for the first time near the Enkewa Camp in the Maasai Mara.
Life as a cheetah cub is fraught with danger and this case is no different. These youngsters have already escaped the clutches of a lioness who tried to kill them the night before they were spotted.
Wildlife photographer and vet Yaron said luckily for the tiny cats they had a clever mum named Siligi to look after them:
“Amy and I are on our way back home from leading another amazing safari and our guests were fortunate enough to see it all.
But the highlight of the trip was without a doubt, seeing Siligi the cheetah with her seven cubs.
Only a few weeks old, and they’ve already been through so much. Our amazing guide, Dominick Maatany, was the first one who spotted this extremely rare sighting.”
‘The night before these pictures were taken, a lioness tried to kill the cubs, but Siligi was smart enough to distract her, and the cheetah ran away with two of the cubs.
We left her that night, very sad and worried for the fate of the other five cubs, but Dominick did it again, and spotted her the next morning with all seven cubs.”
Amy Montminy, who runs YS Wildlife Photography and Safaris alongside Yaron, said she hopes that Siligi will be able to raise some of the cubs to adulthood.
‘Cheetah cubs experience a low survival rate due to predators like lions, hyenas, etc, as well as disease.
Only about 10 per cent of cheetah cubs reach maturity, so to see seven cubs at once from one litter is rare.
This mother, whose name is Siligi will hopefully see one or two of these cuties to adulthood.”
“She’s unfortunately in the Mara, where she’ll experience a lot of pressure from cars, as well as other predators.
But cheetahs in Mara also have help from The Mara Meru Cheetah Project where researchers working with Dr Elena Chelysheva will often stand watch over young cubs in their research vehicles, ensuring that tourist vehicles keep proper distance away.
Unfortunately, one of the research vehicles broke down, and as a result her researchers cannot be in the field, so Siligi will not have that added level of protection unless critical funding can be raised for the project.”
Let’s hope this beautiful group of siblings survives to adulthood. What a sight it would be to see them all together!
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL